Letters to the editor, May 11

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

How city can help small businesses

This letter was originally published on town-village.com as a comment to the story, “Garodnick: Commercial Rent Tax Bill would hardly cost the city anything,” T&V, May 4.

Instead of doing this tax reduction by increasing the amount paid on the leasehold, it should be based on each proprietor’s, LLC member’s, partner’s, or S Corp shareholder’s distributive share of rent expense. Why should the sole proprietor paying $300,000 in rent be exempt from the CRT when the competing store down the block with two partners which pays $600,000 (i.e., $300,000 each from each partner) be exempt?

As for the cost of commercial space:

1. The city needs to adopt formula business zoning, so that each zoning tract has a limit on the number of “formula” businesses, such as franchised or “chain” businesses. This stops the streetscape from becoming repetitive, with Starbucks, Duane Reade, The GAP, McDonald’s, CitiBank, CVS, etc. occupying every available storefront in a neighborhood and destroying the neighborhood character. It leaves room for small, independent, businesses, where management is also the “owner(s)”, who tend to keep up the property and be more involved in the community than the salaried branch manager who gets paid the same, “whether I march or fight.”

2. We will never be able to maintain grocery stores with competitive pricing at street level, not with drug retailers, financial services firms, and restaurants that operate on much higher margins competing for street level retail space.

The city should offer tax and other incentives to build cart escalators that move shopping carts from one flight to a lower flight so that grocery shopping and payment processing and bagging can be done on two separate levels with a much smaller street-level retail space foot-print. You see these shopping cart escalators already in some retail stores (Home Depot stores and a few others have them). Regular escalators are built right next to them.

J.G. Collins, ST

This one’s for mom

Only in Garage 2, when you’re parking your car after a long day and tired, are you greeted with a huge surprising poster to lift your spirits and inspire you. Our local poet and parking attendant Yves Desmereaux thinks to commemorate mothers whose labors are often unheralded.

There could be no better place to live but PCVST! Thank you Yves!

Dr. Bel-Michele DeMille, ST

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